QOOT Cluster, in partnership with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), recently hosted a two-day workshop titled ‘Innovation through side stream valorization in the agrifood industry.
This engaging event brought together cluster members from different backgrounds to explore the untapped potential of side streams in the agrifood sector. Led by Professor Mohammad Abiad, the director of the Laboratories for the Environment, Agriculture, & Food (LEAF) at AUB, the workshop shed light on various strategies to manage side streams while emphasizing the importance of research and sustainability.
Abundant Resources in the Agrifood Sector
The workshop commenced with an insightful overview of the abundant resources available within the agrifood sector. Participants were exposed to the immense potential of side streams, which are often overlooked or considered waste in traditional production processes. By recognizing the value inherent in these side streams, participants gained a new perspective on transforming them into valuable products.
Strategies for managing side streams formed a core aspect of the workshop, addressing key methodologies such as prevention, reuse and recycling, upcycling, and energy recovery. These approaches, when effectively implemented, can significantly reduce waste, enhance resource efficiency, and improve the environmental footprint of the agrifood industry. Through real-life case studies and hands-on exercises, participants were able to apply these strategies to their respective industries, fostering innovative solutions tailored to their unique challenges.
QOOT Cluster Manager, Dr. Marc Bou Zeidan, presenting innovative food waste management strategies during the Abu Dhabi International Food Exhibition 2022.Watch the presentation
Assessing and Optimizing Resource Utilization
Material Flow Analysis and Life Cycle Analysis were also emphasized during the workshop, highlighting their importance in assessing and optimizing resource utilization within the agrifood sector. By gaining a comprehensive understanding of the flow of materials throughout the production process, participants could identify opportunities for optimization, waste reduction, and improved sustainability.
A notable testimonial from Roy Harb, a participant and the CEO of Ayadina, encapsulates the workshop’s impact: “What we learned gave us the insights to look deep into our food production process; what has been considered a side stream in our business has the potential to be turned into fertilizer, energy, powder, and dried products, among others. We realize the potential and will start studying to see where we go from there.”
Dedication to fostering innovation
QOOT Cluster’s commitment to research and development, as demonstrated by its collaboration with EBRD and with Professor Mohammad Abiad and LEAF, reflects its dedication to fostering innovation in the agrifood sector. By organizing such workshops and facilitating knowledge sharing among industry professionals, QOOT Cluster plays a crucial role in increasing the competitiveness of its companies, unlocking hidden operational potentials.
Furthermore, the focus on sustainability throughout the workshop underlines QOOT Cluster’s vision of building a more environmentally conscious and resource-efficient agrifood industry. By encouraging participants to explore sustainable practices, the workshop contributes to the sector’s transition towards a circular economy, where waste is minimized, resources are optimized, and the environmental impact is reduced.
As QOOT Cluster continues to champion research, development, and sustainability, we can anticipate further strides towards a more efficient, sustainable, and prosperous agrifood sector, benefiting businesses, consumers, and the environment alike.